Gauteng municipalities commit to power savings

Gauteng municipalities are switching off their lights to help prevent load-shedding.

All 14 municipalities in the province on Monday committed themselves to a 10% reduction in electricity use, and to improve communication with residents and businesses on when and how long they will be affected by load-shedding.

Following a three-hour meeting between municipalities, Eskom representatives and the Department of Minerals and Energy on Monday, Gauteng local government minister Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu told a media briefing in Johannesburg that municipalities have committed to energy saving, as decided by the Cabinet.

The meeting was preceded by a workshop held in Johannesburg last week where municipalities looked at the effects of load-shedding and their plans to conserve energy.

“Everybody should contribute to the 10% energy that we need to save,” said Mahlangu, adding that load-shedding—especially in Gauteng, the country’s economic hub—is a challenge that needs a coordinated and integrated approach.

“We regard what is happening in Gauteng in particular as a development that we must all take responsibility of, rather than shifting blame to Eskom or municipalities.
We must, however, take this opportunity ... to do our bit as different entities, institutions and individuals to save electricity,” she said.

City of Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo said it is important to communicate messages of hope during load-shedding. He added that eGoli Gas will speed up the roll-out of infrastructure to all households, and that Eskom and City Power in Johannesburg will provide better load-shedding information and schedules.

All municipalities also agreed to implement energy-efficient measures at all council and government buildings, including switching off all lights after hours.

Hospitals, police stations and prisons, among others, will be exempt from load-shedding.

Mahlangu and the mayors also recommitted themselves to growing the province’s economy and to meet a target to electrify all Gauteng households by 2012.

“We should also make sure that we assure Gauteng citizens who are currently without electricity that as government and municipalities we are committed to the 2012 targets of universal access to electricity as agreed at the World Summit of Sustainable Development and Millennium Development Goals.

“We are also committed in growing Gauteng’s economy by 8% by 2014. This crisis has provided us with an opportunity to reflect and recommit ourselves,” added Mahlangu.

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